Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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May 2 // Research Finds Shifts in Trusted Information Sources

Research Finds Shifts in Trusted Information Sources

Research conducted for a New York-area client not surprisingly showed a continuing shift in trusted sources of product information among business managers charged with making purchasing decisions for high-end specialty products.

More than 300 business people across North America reported that the importance of print information – either as paid advertising, magazine and newsletter articles and traditional mar-com promotional material – has declined as a primary factor in the purchase decision-making process. While this bastion of traditional marketing remains a key tool in building product familiarity, they said, other factors increasingly rank higher as reasons to make a specific product choice.

So what is more important? First and foremost, peer recommendations and peer purchase habits. Second, personal contact from someone who really understands both the product and my situation.

As one respondent commented, I’m not buying lipstick here. I’m spending thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment that is mission-critical. So when I see people I know and respect buying a particular product, I’m going to give that a whole lot more weight than some slick ad copy. When a person actually shows me how it can help me, that tells me a lot more than a newsletter article.

Survey results came as no big surprise to the client, a manufacturer and marketer of precision scientific devices. We still must get the word out about our products through the traditional marketing tools, the client’s chief marketing officer observed. But that just sets the table for us. Our customers want first and foremost to feel good about the purchase decision – to see some evidence that they have made the right choice. That’s why we’re shifting a larger percentage of our marketing budget to direct contact efforts.

Additional non-proprietary details and analysis of the research findings are available by contacting me at

Top Page Divider #199

April 4 // WWC Adds New Agency Agreement

WWC adds new agency agreement

WestWord Communications has affiliated with Group Leaf, a Minneapolis-based agency providing public relations, media and advertising expertise to clients in such diverse fields as agriculture and food production, finance, education and transportation.

The agreement allows both GroupLeaf and WestWord to extend their reach to a wider circle of clients. GroupLeaf is headed by Greg Leaf, former president of Miller Meester Advertising in Minneapolis, who brings more than 25 years of experience in delivering award-winning communications to clients.

WestWord provides communications services, including media, public relations, crisis management, market research and editorial services, acting under my direct supervision.

Learn more about GroupLeaf at

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March 18 // E-commerce Moves Center Stage

E-commerce moves center stage

It’s no surprise that e-commerce has become a major element of the web strategy for commercial firms everywhere. But finding the right e-commerce model for the smaller company isn’t as easy at it may seem, despite the promises made by e-commerce solution providers.

Recent projects for smaller clients have found that there is no single solution – and no quick and easy answer – to the e-commerce challenge. It takes planning ahead to define specific objectives clearly and realistically. Communicating and if necessary negotiating with sales reps and distributors. Understanding the real capabilities and costs of various e-commerce options. Spending the time and money on the back-end refinements that inevitably surface. Defining the resources required after the developer leaves. And much, much more.

Contact me at to learn more about the ins and outs of making e-commerce a contributing component of your organization’s marketing and sales efforts.

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Study examines European market-entry strategies.

Garland currently is completing an analysis of various strategies for bringing U.S.–manufactured scientific equipment into the European market. The study focuses on non-traditional methods of building brand awareness in an underdeveloped niche market, for companies without extensive marketing resources or experience.

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September 15 // Personal Brand Building For Career Growth

Garland joins the faculty of the Canaan Ridge Center.

Canaan Ridge, an ambitious new executive development center for the Executive search industry and other professional disciplines, has named Garland to its faculty. In this role, Garland will be directly involved in the development and delivery of coursework for scheduled programs in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Dallas and Frankfurt, Germany.

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Personal brand management is key to professional success.

Leaders in professional services depend upon more than their technical skills to build successful careers. Top performers work aggressively to manage their own personal brand – carefully and thoughtfully cultivating the status and reputation that attract the best clients and most-rewarding assignments. Canaan Ridge will use Garland’s experience in brand building and reputation management in one of the center’s four major areas of professional development. Learn more about Canaan Ridge at